LETTER: Drivers must pay attention

More Canadians are now killed by distracted drivers who are texting or talking on their phones than by impaired drivers.

Dear Editor:

This past weekend Fatal Distraction was published by several of the national dailies.

The wake-up call statistic is that more Canadians are now killed by distracted drivers who are texting or talking on their phones than by impaired drivers.

There appears to be an ingrained attitude of privilege about cell phone use while driving despite scientific proof that those activities, especially texting, are dangerously incompatible.

Last week I was crossing Jubilee at Main on foot in a downtown Summerland crosswalk and had to step back to avoid being hit by a distracted driver.

I observed a middle-aged woman, one hand on the wheel, phone in the other hand looking down at it with a smile on her face. I don’t know if she was texting, talking or viewing images, but I do know that she was completely oblivious to my presence in the crosswalk.

I have had other close calls with drivers who appear to believe they are able to drive and text or talk without incident.

Recently, I came close to rear-ending a Summerland driver who had stopped dead on Rosedale in front of my vehicle to answer her phone. (She had a sort of plan for her phone ringing.)

A few years ago, in Penticton, I was almost t-boned in the Power Street roundabout by a talking driver who shot through from the Channel Parkway.

All of those incidents happened at relatively slow speeds and did not involve collisions because I was paying attention. It angers me that drivers or pedestrians alike who don’t engage in this “it’ll never happen to me” behaviour need to be hyper-vigilant because others continue to disregard science, laws, and the lives of others.

Please give some thought to changing your behaviour if you recognize yourself as one who pits what is trivial behaviour against human life.

Pati Hill

Summerland